The Caterham F1 Team have been on the Formula One grid since 2010, when they were granted entry to the sport along with, who are now known as, HRT and Marussia. In their first season they raced under the Lotus Racing marque, before becoming Team Lotus for 2011. Due to legal quibbles over rights to the Lotus name and branding, and due to Tony Fernandes, Team Principal, acquiring Caterham – the British sportscar manufacturers – the team had a rebrand for 2012. Now known as Caterham F1 Team they have recently made the move from Hingham to Leafield and are still striving to make a move towards the midfield, and maybe even pick up their first ever F1 points before the season is over. Here in Scrutineering we take a look at their time in F1, their season so far, and what the fans say or think!
Lotus Racing/Team Lotus/Caterham F1
Caterham are one of three new teams who were granted entry to Formula One in 2010.
Caterham are a Malaysian owned team fronted by Tony Fernandes, currently taking part in Formula One with drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov. They also run their own GP2, the F1 feeder series, team called Caterham Racing for which F1 team reserve and test driver Giedo van der Garde races. Kovalainen has been with the team since their inception in 2010 and, moved there with two seasons at McLaren and a year at Renault under his belt. While still a relative newbie to the sport when he signed, Kovalainen has proved a valuable signing. Now with five years’ experience Kovalainen is proving his worth by extracting the most from the car, and even getting it through to Q2 on more than one occasion. He has challenged the Toro Rosso drivers and raced well and it looks like when the first points come, he will be the one to get them. Take nothing away from Kovalainen’s partner Petrov though. Having driven for the Lotus-Renault team, Petrov also has experience of driving near the front, even picking up a podium in 2011. He was a late signing for the team for 2012, after they announced Jarno Trulli would be staying for the season, but Petrov would be the one to take the seat. F1 veteran Trulli had 14 years of experience in hand when he joined the team in 2010 – an invaluable resource for a new team it could be assumed.
Much has been promised from Caterham – including lots of talk that they will be able to take their first championship points this season, or close the gap to the midfield. They have certainly cemented themselves as best of the new teams and with continued steps in the right direction, they can make good on the speculation. With respected engineers such as Mike Gascyone on the team, they certainly look to have a strong base behind them.
Caterham F1 Stats
Number of finishes: 72
Highest finish: 13th (8 times)
Best qualifying: 13th (Heikki Kovalainen, Belgium 2010)
What the fans think and like!
- The fact they have Heikki Kovalainen as a driver
- Their interaction with fans on social media such as Twitter and the insights they give, for example from Mike Gascoyne
- The fact they have made it through to Q2 and have looked to challenge Toro Rosso
- Hopefully they can score a point or two soon – much has been promised and it would be nice to see it happen
- Their livery
- They have a QPR logo on their car
- Best of the ‘new’ teams
- Came to the Bavaria City Racing in Dublin
- The pre-season ‘This is Caterham F1‘ video
- Brought the Lotus name back to F1